As Carol Loeb and Alison Grapes walk around Old Port’s Gallery 203, they can’t help but look in awe.
“I’m proud of us; we did this,” Loeb says as she looks at the 106 paintings hanging on the wall.
The paintings capture 53 different spots in Canada, a product of the childhood friends’ trip along the Trans-Canada Highway that started in 2016. En route, they stopped every 150 km in honour of Canada’s 150th anniversary, each artist creating their own rendition of the scenes they saw.
The idea was born when Loeb and her husband were travelling across Quebec.
While trapped inside their cars in the rain, Loeb heard a radio host ask, “What are you doing for Canada’s 150th?”
“The phone rang and it was my oldest friend on the other end. She told me about this idea she had and near the end she said, ‘Would you like to join?’ I said, ‘Absolutely!'” Grapes enthusiastically told Global News.
Loeb and Grapes have been friends for 50 years. They’re both art teachers — Loeb in Montreal, Grapes in Saskatchewan.
“It was like ‘the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants’ for me,” said Gallery 203 owner Corrine Asseraf.
“I said, ‘Oh my God, this is so exciting!'”
Artistically speaking, they weren’t always on the same page, mainly when it came to Montreal.
Loebs’ rendition of the city depicted a road under construction with its famous orange cones.
“When I finished it I showed it to Alison and she was like, ‘You can’t do that, you can upset so many people,'” Loeb recalled, laughing. “I went, ‘No, I won’t! Montrealers have a sense of humour and we totally understand this painting.'”
Twenty-two months later, their story is now immortalized on these canvasses and in the pages of their new book to share their Canada, and with the world.
The exhibit runs until July 5th.